Most of us are able to look back on our relationships and identify behaviors that were red flags.
That’s great, but it’s easy to look back on red flags because they are often blatant.
What about the signs beforehand? The ones that we chose to ignore even though they were an indicator of the toxic behaviors that were to follow?
“There is an underlying nugget of truth to the notion that before a new partner exhibits a classic red flag, say, putting you down or making fun of you, there was something that was already happening. Whatever that was is the yellow flag.” -Psychology Today
I am a huge believer that there are little things that we often miss when our rose-colored glasses at on.
Now, some of these signs wouldn’t normally be dealbreakers but I believe they are behaviors that should be monitored to ensure that they don’t go into the red flag territory.
#1. A less than stellar work ethic
I have a friend who had a boyfriend that consistently lept from job to job. At first, this wasn’t necessarily a negative trait because in our day and age this is pretty common and we both figured that he hadn’t found the right fit.
As time went on it became apparent that it had nothing to do with the jobs. It had to do with the fact that her boyfriend didn’t want to work.
He was just… lazy.
This ended up spilling into his personal life and my friend cut things off. The last we heard, he moved in with his Mom so that he wouldn't have to pay the bills anymore.
How someone navigates their professional life is usually a preview of how they will navigate their personal life.
#2. Moving the relationship along very quickly
At times, this can be a “yellow” flag because everyone moves at a different pace and some people are comfortable moving quickly.
I have been in several relationships that moved at the speed of light. One was in college when I was standing in line waiting for a bagel. A cute guy commented that he liked my hair, and the next moment we were in a relationship (only in college.)
He wasn’t manipulative but I learned very quickly that he was extremely insecure and had trust issues due to previous relationships.
Another relationship moved quickly because I was love-bombed by someone who had narcissistic personality disorder and in that case, it was a huge red flag.
There is a difference between wanting to see someone all the time in the beginning and being told within two weeks that you are their soulmate.
#3. Partying/drinking is at the forefront of their life
When I first met my current partner of over three years I was hesitant to date him because he seemed to constantly be going over after work and partying with friends. I took notice and made it a “yellow” flag in the back of my mind.
Fast forward three years later and he almost never goes out. The moment he hit a certain age he made a shift in his lifestyle and now he may have a glass of wine or two over the weekend but that’s the cutoff.
Rewind to an earlier relationship and I was with someone that started drinking due to work stress. This turned into every single night him downing half a bottle of gin of he was home or staying out with his boys until he stumbled home drunk. His moods were unpredictable and when I asked him to do a month of no-alcohol with me he just laughed and said that was impossible. Talk about the biggest red flag that someone could wave that they had a problem.
“Partying” is different based on everyone but if you want to stay in every night and someone wants to go out and rage, it’s going to be a huge issue in your relationship if not a dealbreaker.
#4. Acting like a different person around their friends
I was in a relationship with Andrew, whom I would refer to as my college sweetheart.
When we were alone everything felt perfect and he made me feel like I was the most important person in his life. Things would swiftly change the moment that we were around his friends.
Suddenly I didn’t exist and it didn’t matter if I was with them for an hour or the entire day, he would ignore me completely.
Eventually, I sat him down and asked why he was acting so strangely. He claimed that his friends would tease him about always spending time with me so he felt like he had to act a certain way when we were around them.
This spoke to his immaturity but it was something I would encounter in later relationships as well. With some, we were able to communicate and work it out but with others, it ended up evolving into a dealbreaker.
Yellow flags shouldn’t be a dealbreaker…
No one is perfect. People are going to come to the dating world with a range of learned behaviors and quirks.
It’s important to remember that no one is perfect, but it’s also important to protect yourself.
If I could give one final tip about yellow flags it would be to note them in your mind and communicate with your partner how you are feeling. If your partner continues these behaviors it’s time to take a step back and really evaluate your relationship without rose-colored glasses.